Electronic Weapons: India Covers Its Ocean


July 26, 2007: India has opened its second foreign base, a electronic monitoring station in northern Madagascar. There, India has radars and electronic monitoring equipment. Some 2,500 kilometers to the north-east is the American base on Diego Garcia island. India has leased an atoll to the east of Madagascar, in the Mauritius islands, for another monitoring station. These two bases, in addition to providing the Indian navy with a real-time picture of what's happening off the coast of Africa, also monitors the most heavily used routes of supertanker (ships too large for the Suez canal) traffic going around the Cape of Good Hope. India already has similar monitoring stations on its east and west coasts. In addition, India has berthing rights for its warships in Oman, enabling its warships to regularly visit the Persian Gulf, and trouble spots like the Somali coast (as part of an international anti-terrorism and anti-piracy patrol).

A lot of this new base activity is believed to be a counter to Chinese moves into the Indian ocean. China is now a major investor in Africa, especially in oil field development. China also has a monitoring base off the coast of Burma, in the Coco islands. India just opened its first foreign base last month, in Tajikistan, where is stationing aircraft and training Tajik pilots.


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